Duck Dynasty: How Should Christians Respond?

o-DUCK-DYNASTY-facebookIf you have the internet or watch T.V. you’ve probably heard about the Duck Dynasty “controversy”. For those who haven’t here’s the skinny.

The Patriarch of the Robertson’s family (the stars of Duck Dynasty) made comments  in a GQ Magazine interview that reflected his upbringing in the South (these were the ones more related to the race questions) and others from his Christian perspective on the nature of sexual ethics and in particular homosexual behavior that have started a media firestorm.

Predictably A & E suspended Phil from the show on the basis of those comments in response to pressure from the social elite who control and shape much of modern media.  For a while now I’ve felt like this type of thing was bound to happen given the nature of the Robertson’s clan and the “waters they swam” in a media culture that is so antagonistic to traditional Christian belief.

I’m not really going to go into what Phil said. You can read the article for yourself and see the various responses Christians have given (see below).

The real issue I’m interested in is how Christians are responding to it.

Joe Carter has some good thoughts here. He also apologizes for failing to address the “race” portion of the interview here. At the same time David Matthis over at Desiring God says that by Christians “crying fowl” about our civil liberties in this instance we are playing right into the hands of the people who control these things by giving them more exposure and reinforcing the power of it:

“Dear Christian, this is not something worth getting exercised about. As much as it may seem like “reality television,” it doesn’t take much of an eye to see how much this show is scripted and how much this is not the reality worth fighting for.

This is not our time to cry fowl about Christian civil liberties. The network never owed us this show, never owed us how many times they haven’t censored the name of Jesus from Phil’s end-of-episode prayers, and never deserved that we get this upset and in the meantime litter the Internet with their name and boost their profile. Think the numbers were impressive on the Christmas episode? Now, you watch and see.”[1]

Similarly Stephen Miller over at the Gospel Coalition discussing the Christian responses writes, “I can almost hear Jesus saying, “No one will come to saving faith by reading your angry Facebook rant. This isn’t the way my kingdom will advance. It’s not us against them.

CHRISTIANS IN WESTERN MEDIA

In general the media has unfairly targeted conservative Christians for their adherence to the Bible and traditional authority structures (most notably affirming the biblical position regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality). I think part of this targeting has been Christians own fault in our lack of seriously engaging the culture on multiple levels. Rather than going out and seeking the lost in truth, love and compassion (like Jesus commanded) we have often been guilty of getting comfortable in our churches and social cliques and become hypocritical to person and message of Jesus. At the same time Scripture makes it clear that there is going to be a “natural” resistance toward those who actually follow Jesus, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:20)[2]

But even in light of this Scriptural reality Jesus never played the victim card.

Jesus showed us who God  is (Col. 1:15-20) in spite of unfairness, mockery, beatings, torture and ultimately death, “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing…” (Luke 23:34).

At the same time Paul seems to utilize secular law when he was before the Roman Tribune, 22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the tribune ordered him to be brought into the barracks, saying that he should be examined by flogging, to find out why they were shouting against him like this. 25 But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.” 27 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I am a citizen by birth.” 29 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him immediately, and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.” (Acts 22:22-29)

So what are we to make of all that has happened to Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty in the last couple days?

I think there are four basic guidelines every responsible Christian should apply before they make a decision either way:

prayer1)  Pray first

When this story first erupted was your first response prayer? I know mine wasn’t but it should have been. The early Church’s response to Peter and John’s imprisonment was prayer (Acts 12:5). We need to be a prayerful people because apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5). It will also help us discern the appropriate application of our civil liberties and the most God magnifying way to pursue them.

2)  Know it’s always going to be an uphill battle

As we mentioned earlier in this post the media and the culture is inherently against any group that claims objective truth and more so against conservative Christians who believe in the Bible. Some of this is self-inflected but it’s also just affirming what Jesus said in John 15:20.

That being said we shouldn’t be surprised or shocked by it and play the victim card (because Jesus didn’t). We also shouldn’t be afraid or scared off from the truth because we have can have confidence in what Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

3)  Think clearly before emotionally responding, especially online

We all know that once something is on the internet it’s there forever. Take some time to think and pray before you “like” or “comment” for or against something. You never know who will read that post or that comment in the future. It may also follow you “off line” when people who you might otherwise have the opportunity to talk about something like the Duck Dynasty “controversy”  won’t even mention it because they “know where you stand” already.

4)  Use these “controversies” as an opportunity to talk about why you are a Christian

I think a personal one-on-one conversation is the best way to express to people our personal views on things important to us. These are where we can “raise” the question about the fairness of such views; i.e “How is it that Miley Cyrus is praised for her behavior and Phil Robertson is ridiculed”? It gives us the opportunity to show how upside down the world is and how absolutely necessary Jesus is to our lives.

Magnify Jesus instead of controversy.


[2] I’m not going to go into the discussion about what “persecution” means (i.e. we aren’t dying or being imprisoned in the West we are just being mocked, unfairly treated, etc). The point I’m trying to make is that as a consequence of affirming what the Bible said negative effects will take place (i.e. “persecution”).

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~ by simplesage on December 21, 2013.

One Response to “Duck Dynasty: How Should Christians Respond?”

  1. All good points. I have resisted the urge to post anything mainly because I don’t think I articulate my thoughts and defend my positions very well on the Facebook and the likely hood of alienating and or discouraging future conversations with those that disagree with me (one of your points). But yet I struggle with not responding at all. Its a fine line…

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